When I first started working at Beginnings, a Housman Institute Lab School, I thought it was going to be like other preschools and other early childhood development centers. My first few weeks observingchildren interact with teachers and peers quickly disavowed me of that notion. Within the first month of the program, children as young as two were beginning to effectively communicate their feelingsto both their teachers and peers. I was amazed.

Duringmyfirst year at the lab school, the children’s progress increasingly amazed me. Instead of witnessingscreaming, crying, and tantrums in the classrooms,I heard children using their words, accurately articulating their feelings and the cause of those feelings, and problem-solving with peers at a level that far exceeded developmental expectation.

What perhaps was most remarkable to me, however, was the feedback I received from parents. I had one parent tell me that their 2-year-old the weekend prior had successfully mediateda conflict between cousins at a family gathering. Her father told me that the child’s cousins were between the ages of 5 and 7, and that they had been fighting over a toy. He said his daughter could be seen telling the cousins that theycould not just take a toy from one anotherbut that they had to use their words to come up with a solution to share.

Hearing stories like that one is why I love what I do. Housman Institutethrough its begin to…ECSEL approach promotes the building blocks of emotional intelligence for lifelong success.In so doing, it is truly transformativein a way that is unique in early childhood education.

Andie Savel is a project manager at Housman Institute